Cascara Sagrada, also called Sacred Bark, is an herb derived from the year old bark of Rhamnus purshiana. Native American Indians commonly used Cascara Sagrada to treat constipation and upset stomachs. Cascara Sagrada is regarded to be a safe laxative that is often employed as a remedy for mild and chronic constipation.
Clinical researchers have isolated several Anthraquinone glycosides as the active principles in Cascara. These glycosides are hydrolyzed by bacteria in the colon, resulting in its laxative activity. These active substances cause an increased peristalsis locally in the large intestine. HAD also helps by circulating in the bloodstream and stimulating a nerve center to trigger a laxative effect.
Cascara Sagrada can also be used in small doses as a liver tonic and a chelating agent to prevent the occurrence of calcium-based urinary stones.
Modern herbalists also recommend it as a tonic for the digestive system and to stimulate the liver, pancreas, gallbladder and stomach. It is also considered to be useful in the treatment of jaundice, hemorrhoids and colic.